Alfred Steiner

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BubbleWrap, 2008 Cast Glass 12 X 24 X 5/8 In.
Predation of Ovis ares, 2007 Felt 35 X 32.5 X 22 In.
Anti-paparazzi Shirt, 2007 3 M Scotchlite Reflective Material Men's Size 39
The Penis of the Elected Never Softens, 2007 Oil On Linen 55 X 89 In.
Pour, 2008 Oil On Linen 55 X 89 In.
His Bowels Shall Be a Fountain of Truth, 2006 Oil On Linen 96 X 72 In.
Arthropod, 2008 Ballpoint Pen On Paper 22 X 30 In.
Laocoon, 2007 Ballpoint Pen On Paper 22 X 30 In.
Drooling Idiot, 2008 Ballpoint Pen On Paper 22 X 30 In.
Glutton, 2014 Watercolor On Arches 300 Lb. Hot Press Paper 30 X 22 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Joshua Liner Gallery
Quick Facts
Cincinnati, OH
Birth year
Lives in
New York
Works in
New York
Harvard University, 1998, JD
Miami University, Oxford, OH, 1995, BA, BS
ballpoint, pen, pop, digital, figurative, conceptual, sculpture

My paintings and drawings seek to seduce the viewer by transforming grotesque or distasteful content into sensuously pleasurable forms.

In my ballpoint pen drawings, I improvise tangles of dismembered anatomy — muscles, bones, eyes, noses, etc. But under close observation, these initially disturbing anatomical permutations reveal subtle variations in line quality, through which the observant viewer may derive vicarious pleasure associated with mark-making.  The compositions of these works are often drawn from art-historical and pop-cultural sources, especially those with a penchant for the grotesque — from Hieronymus Bosch to Homer Simpson.

My paintings are landscapes populated with toys, cocktail novelties and other fantastic structures made from petroleum byproducts, together with feces, dildos, rotting teeth and other unmentionables.  By rendering this objectionable subject matter with the luminous skin of glazed oil paint, I invite the viewer to consider whether the abject can become beautiful.

My conceptual works often follow a similar logic of aesthetic transmutation.  They typically begin with a sensuous material — like glass or wool — which is then converted into its antithesis — like bubble wrap or a coyote.  Sometimes the transformation revolves around the material’s function.  In the case of the Anti-paparazzi Shirt, a material made to make its wearer highly visible (e.g., for graveyard-shift road-repair crews) is used to make its wearer effectively invisible to flashing cameras.

Ultimately, creating these works is a process of redemption:  Making the Repugnant sublime, the Established subversive and the Precious cheap.

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